Archive for the ‘ideology’ Category

Auto Bailout: Practicality Trumps Ideology

December 20, 2008

With depression now a genuine risk, the U.S. has wisely put practicality ahead of idealogy.

By Steven Pearlstein The Washington Post
Saturday, December 20, 2008; Page D01

At any other time, the day that the federal government stepped in to rescue the domestic auto industry would be a turning point in the history of American capitalism. The only reason it is not is that it was immediately preceded by similar rescues of Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, AIG, and Citigroup. It was just another day in Bailout Nation.

Let’s be clear on one point, however: The story here is not that Americans have lost their stomach for the kind of “creative destruction” that is generated by open and competitive markets, which sometimes results in the big companies going under and thousands of jobs being lost. We never particularly relished it — who would? — but we tolerated it in the past, we are still tolerating it now (Circuit City, Lehman Brothers), and we will undoubtedly tolerate it in the future. Moreover, even when the government steps in to rescue these companies, it invariably involves a serious and painful restructuring that results in the loss of thousands and even tens of thousands of jobs. That’s not how you define bailout in French.

Workers leave the Daimler Chrysler North Assembly Jeep plant ... 
Workers leave the Daimler Chrysler North Assembly Jeep plant in Toledo,Ohio after their shift Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. Autoworkers took home an early holiday gift Friday with President Bush’s offer of $17.4 billion in emergency loans to beleaguered U.S. car makers.(AP Photo/Madalyn Ruggiero)

Read the rest:

Obama is, Viewed Pragmatically, Interested in “What Works,” Practically

December 13, 2008

Principle is often pragmatism’s guardian. Particularly at times of crisis, when a polity succumbs to collective madness or delusion, it is only the obstinate ideologues who refuse to go along. Expediency may be a virtue in virtuous times, but it’s a vice in vicious ones.

There’s another problem with the fetishization of the pragmatic, which is the brute fact that, at some level, ideology is inescapable. Obama may have told Steve Kroft that he’s solely interested in “what works,” but what constitutes “working” is not self-evident and, indeed, is impossible to detach from some worldview and set of principles.

See Christopher Hayes, THE NATION:

Tobin Harshaw
The New York Times